How Dysfunctional Was Your Childhood

Most of us wouldn’t describe our families as dysfunctional when telling our story. We may reserve the term “dysfunctional” for only the most extreme cases. Unless we’ve suffered sexual or physical abuse, or even if we have, we may tell ourselves that there was no dysfunction in our family. Yet, in America dysfunctional families are the norm due to cultural values, a high divorce rate, and widespread addictions – from prescription drugs to exercising, working, and shopping.

A dysfunctional family is formally characterized by conflict, misbehavior, or abuse. Relationships between family members are tense and can be filled with neglect, yelling, and screaming. You might feel forced to happily accept negative treatment. By this definition, we have all experienced some degree of dysfunction in the process of growing up. And how well we cope in our lives today depends, to a large degree, on how much we are willing to recognize and make sense of this trauma.

Take the quick inventory below to see how your own family ranks.

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There is no question

How Dysfunctional Was Your Childhood

Your childhood was...

Possibly Dysfunctional

There are so many reasons for family members to act problematically, from finances, all the way to their past and how their family members treated them. That said, it’s not your job to change your family. You can only take responsibility for yourself and your own actions.


It's important to remember that even though you can't change the past and the dysfunction at the core of the family may always exist, you can protect your well-being now by moving forward, creating a family of your own that has healthy and thriving relationships. You deserve it.


Just understanding the dysfunction we experienced is the first step is to break the cycle, and can help you define how you do and don't want to be going forward. If the family dysfunction is severe, you may need a therapist and/or coach to support you as you heal from the trauma you experienced.

Your childhood was...

Dysfunctional

There are so many reasons for family members to act problematically, from finances, all the way to their past and how their family members treated them. That said, it’s not your job to change your family. You can only take responsibility for yourself and your own actions.


It's important to remember that even though you can't change the past and the dysfunction at the core of the family may always exist, you can protect your well-being now by moving forward, creating a family of your own that has healthy and thriving relationships. You deserve it.


Just understanding the dysfunction we experienced is the first step is to break the cycle, and can help you define how you do and don't want to be going forward. If the family dysfunction is severe, you may need a therapist and/or coach to support you as you heal from the trauma you experienced.